Tesco are selling live turtles in packets?

October 23rd, 2012 26 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Tesco Logo Colour 300x98 Tesco are selling live turtles in packets?It appears that Tesco are selling and butchering live turtles in their stores, which looks like pretty awful PR doesn’t it?

Naturally, there’s an online petition about it all, which you can read and sign here.

The petition says that the undersigned are “absolutely horrified at the barbaric sale of live, packaged turtles by Tesco (and other massive supermarkets most of us use) in China and demand that you set an example and STOP this horrific business NOW.”

It goes on to say: “Tesco is responsible for all stages of these creatures’ tortured existence from being farmed in terrible conditions, packaged in boxes to live on supermarket shelves gasping for life, to their customers’ no doubt random slaughtering techniques. When the turtles are killed in the shop they are butchered by having their heads cut off and crushed with no pre-stunning. At times they don’t die for a hour.”

“It gets worse, one can also buy live baby turtles in water as a key ring and live bull frogs, kept in heartbreaking conditions.The suffering inflicted on these animals is so extreme that if it took place in the UK, Tesco directors would undoubtedly face criminal charges.”

There’s a lot of guesswork and assumption in the petition, but that should stop you from looking into it all if you care about such matters. Tesco, it is over to you to clear this one up. Oh, and add your own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jokes.

Comments (26) Jump to most recent comment
  1. I used to think my life was complete until I heard about baby turtle keyrings.

  2. Posted by Alexis October 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Not being racist, but after seeing Chinese people eating chicken foeteses, dogs and toads on An Idiot Abroad, nothing surprises me any more about this lot.

  3. Posted by Zleet October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I watched a travel/cookery show once where they went to some restaurant in china. One of the dishes was to de-scale a live fish and then plunge it into boiling oil while it was flopping about.

    Chinese be crazy.

    Saying that you do get people plunging live shellfish into boiling water over here.

  4. Posted by Chewbacca October 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    The Chinese have no respect for life. End of.

  5. Posted by StackedTimothy October 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    @Zleet I saw someone de-scale a live fish. Wasn’t impressed.

  6. Posted by James Dewitt October 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    baby turtle keyrings? Really? Is this another banzai kitten?

  7. Posted by Spencer October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    isn’t this a bit racist?

    don’t get me wrong… yes it’s a barbaric practice, but isn’t it a little arrogant to stare down our collective noses and act with moral superiority because we are abhorred by another nation’s culinary preferences?

  8. Posted by Joe October 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Alexis: Chicken foetuses. So… eggs?

  9. Posted by Sawyer October 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I think the word China should have been more prominent in this article. I was thinking I hadn’t seen any live turtles in my local Tesco.

  10. Posted by craig October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    @sawyer me too lol.
    french eat horses,snails,frogs
    over here we eat stuff i dont agree with too like quail etc but we do.

    china eat some weird shit for sure but its there way of life i suppose.
    tesco are purely supplying there needs.

    comes over here and then i care more.

    oh and as long as the turtles are bread to be eaten and not wild then its only farming

  11. Posted by ElBuc October 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    As long as they don’t take away my dolphin burger then I’m happy.

  12. @ Craig
    Tthe farming argument doesn’t work in this case, even if you ignore the horredous barbarity of the way the turtles are reared, sold and killed. Here’s why:

    Consuming turtles for food is responsible for wiping out wild turtle species across Asia and beyond. 41% of the world’s tortoises and freshwater turtles and three quarters of Asian species are already threatened with extinction as a result of human consumption. But despite legislation restricting trade in many species, enforcement is weak, and many internationally and nationally protected species still find their way onto Chinese plates.

    Up to 20 million turtles a year are consumed in China, and in 2000 alone, 25 tons were imported from Sumatra each week. By selling freshwater turtles for food in their Chinese outlets Tesco acts as accessories to the escalating demise of these species. No western supermarket should have a hand in their oextermination.

    Tesco argues that turtles sold in its stores are farmed, but this does not mean there is no impact on wild populations. Research by Dr. Shi Haito and colleagues confirmed that turtle farming represents a major threat to the survival of wild turtles. Initial optimism about turtle farming amongst conservation experts has given way to disappointment, because of a growing list of wide-ranging problems:
    • Selling softshell turtles for food supports a destructive market that is fuelling a global extinction crisis.
    • Because consumers believe that wild-caught individuals possess better potent tonic qualities, wild turtles continue to be exploited.
    • Successive generations of farm-raised turtles show a marked decrease in reproductive capability. Farms therefore rely on supplementing existing stocks with wild-caught individuals. Wild turtles are also caught to establish new breeding facilities.
    • Turtle species on farms are hybridised and escape into the wild, and high levels of parasites and water-born pollutants are discharged into the environment. Turtle farms therefore also endanger the health and viability of local wildlife.

    Darrell Senneke, one of the world’s leading authorities on tortoises and turtles and Director of the World Chelonian Trust told me: “When an adult turtle is removed from the wild, it is not just that turtle that is being removed, but also the reproductive potential of that animal over a breeding life that may exceed 50 years. As a result, removal of even a few adults from a population can result in the decline and eventual loss of the entire population.”

    The softshell turtle Pelodiscus sinensis is now the only species Tesco continues to sell. Pelodiscus sinensis is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the Red List of Endangered Species, as a result of harvesting for food. This means that Pelodiscus sinensis faces a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term.

    Tesco and other supermarkets who engage in this practice (e.g., Walmart) should therefore cease all live turtle sales in its Chinese stores, including those of Pelodiscus sinensis.

    There is no excuse.

  13. Posted by Chewbacca October 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm


    I don’t recall reading that the turtles were breaded. Unless, of course, you meant to say bred. You fucking moron.

  14. Posted by Majorie Dawes October 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    The Chinese are just dirty bastards, pure and simple. Tesco should be ashamed. But of course, Every Little Helps to line the pockets of one of the most dodgy food retailers we have in this country.

  15. Posted by LancerVancer October 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Hero’s in a half shell, turtle power!!

    That bastard Shredder.

  16. Posted by jt October 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I hear in the UK they eat cows and pigs! Eww!

    The farming argument doesn’t work – In the UK and most of Europe they have wiped out all wild cows & pigs.

  17. Posted by Bob October 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Mussels are live when you buy them from the supermarket fish counter.

  18. Posted by Paul d October 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    We allow Muslims and Jews to slit animals throats all the time in the uk so we need to look at ourselves before we ban the cutting off of a turtles head in a supermarket in China. Spencer said on here that this discussion was racist … No it isn’t, we don’t have to respect cruelty just because it is done in another country for fear of being accused of racism. We can criticise another country’s rituals and tastes if we find them abhorrent without it being racist. I find the whole turtle thing quite alarming but then again I do hate the halal and kosher slaughter methods, live boiling of lobster and even hooking fish with barbaric hooks … and I certainly am no militant animal rights supporter ….

  19. Posted by Chewbacca October 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm


    We don’t have any choice to allow the muslims to do their thing. I mean, if we complained we’d be racist, right? Worst still, they’d execute all our ambassadors. ‘Cos that’s just the way they roll…

    Oh, and Paul:


  20. Posted by JonB October 25, 2012 at 12:54 am

    There are films on youtube of Chinese fur farmers skinning live dogs (search for “Animals are Skinned Alive on Chinese Fur Farms”) and people eating a fish that has been fried but is still alive (search for “deep fried fish alive and eaten”), so this story does not surprise me.

  21. Posted by Efjay October 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

    As Capt. Kirk said about the Klingons: “They’re animals!… Don’t believe them! Don’t trust them!”

    It’s not racism, they are simply a belligerent communist enemy state – which Globalists claim to be a ‘partner’. A partner with dangerous ambitions, who WILL turn upon us when they feel like it. I do not trust them one bit.

  22. Posted by Hugh Jars October 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    The racist comments in here are staggering.

  23. Voted cold as this is likely to be store specific.

  24. Posted by Liz March 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I bloody HATE Tesco!

  25. Posted by Roxannah Hart December 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I NEVER shop at Tesco anyway, they’re totally without ethics, and as for the Chinese – they’re responsible for animals and fish declining at an alarming rate, and even Avon have started animal experiments again to satisfy them – DISGUST doesn’t come near!

  26. Posted by Disgusted July 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    The fact that they are farmed makes it even worse!
    Not only do they die horrible painful deaths they also live miserable overcrowded livid swimming in and breathing and eating their own shit and diseases……
    Anyone who eats farmed fish should look seriously into the welfare of these poor creatures

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